Imposter Syndrome, A Snarly Dog

Imposter Syndrome is a Snarly Dog. I decided it was time to write about this, after mentoring one of my author friends on Imposter Syndrome and self-doubt. I realized this is something we don’t talk about enough. If we did, writers would not view it as unique or unexpected when it happens to them.

Mention Imposter Syndrome in a room full of authors and ask them to raise their hands if they have ever encountered it and you will see almost every hand go up. It is as common as typing THE END. Think about that for a minute. Let this sink in – Imposter Syndrome is so common to writers, that almost everyone has experienced it at one time or another. I don’t know any authors who haven’t experienced it and it’s been ten years since my first novel was published and I’ve been in author circles for over twenty years. Imposter Syndrome is universal and seems to be part of the author’s journey.

I like to picture these doubts as snarling dogs, because that’s what they do. They ask the question who do you think you are? And it’s always with that snarl.

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I like to say Imposter Syndrome is a big snarly dog and you have to go all out alpha on it to show it who the alpha is.

Imposter Syndrome is a form of self-doubt and is fear based. Fear of being judged as an author, fear of having your book judged, fear of being found wanting, fear of someone saying – who do you think you are to write that book? You may experience one of these or another from the same snarling dog family.

You may experience this snarly dog with your first book or your twentieth. When writing, you may experience it halfway through, in those moments when you think the good pages you wrote yesterday which you thought were such good pages now totally suck and the whole book totally sucks so much you’d like to shred it, burn it or delete it. That one is a very nasty snarly dog. You can’t let it win. You may experience a snarly dog after hitting the bestseller lists multiple times; with readers saying they love your books. Some writers experience it on book release day and don’t feel like celebrating, because that snarly dog is winning. You may experience it when being asked to read from your work or when asked to speak or to be in an interview or on a panel. So, what can you do about a snarly dog?

First, know they can pop up at any time and be ready to face one. Acknowledge it and face it. No hiding in your house, or cancelling or destroying pages. No posting all over social media, wallowing in it and being a victim of it. Tell an author friend or mentor privately if you need to talk about it, but then face that snarly dog.

Imposter Syndrome is a big snarly dog and you have to go all alpha on it to show it who the alpha is. Your words and your voice and your stories have value. When it snarls, say out loud, “I am (your full name) and my words have value. My book has value and people want to read it.”

There is power in “I am” statements. Great power.

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Now go write your awesome books, never let the snarly dogs win, and boost and encourage your fellow creative friends. I’m fine with you quoting me and hope this article helps.

To learn more about Debra Parmley and her books, or for her writing classes check out:

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Threading the Web – Your Creativity is Always Intact

Your Creativity is always in intact. If you are not writing or creating in some way, that does not mean your creativity is broken or has gone away.

Creativity can exist in the midst of chaos of all sorts, illness, war, famine, fear of death…

Just ask any writer who has lived through any of these circumstances and who has written about it, often written during the events. There are famous diaries and other written works which fall into this category and I’ll bet you can even name a few.

I once wrote while in the midst of food poisoning. Food poisoning from an egg roll I’d purchased at a mall food court. I wrote about the experience while I was in it, which is why I know such things can be done. It is the thought of can’t which gets in the way. Clear that off and believe you can.

The piece I wrote, was it a piece I would let you, or anyone else read? No. I tore it up the following week and did away with it.

So, why do this? Why write something if I was just going to tear it up later anyway?

Sometimes we need to write our way through things as a way of processing them, to release what is inside of us so it doesn’t live there any more.

Sometimes we need to write simply to keep our writing muscles flexible and strong.

5 minutes a day is all it takes to keep your writing muscles from hardening up and becoming immobile. In all my writing classes I give timed writing exercises and the 5 minute timed writings are a core part of the program.

Everyone has five minutes to give to the things that are important to them. No excuses. Go on now and set that egg timer, or set your alarm on your phone. Write something, anything. What will you write about today?

 

Threading the Web – Where To Begin – Deciding on Your Point of View

Where do I begin? – My students often ask this question.

One way to begin is to start with the point of view from where you are now. Begin with where you are standing. What do you see?

Last week the cherry blossom trees in my yard came into bloom. Something new to catch my attention, drawing my eye to the beauty there. Creative inspiration could have led me to write a poem about this tree. I stood for a long time taking it in, allowing the visual to speak to me.

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Often journal entries will begin this way. Simply what are you seeing now? Where are you standing? At what angle do you view the scene? Now let’s change things. What happens if you move just a bit closer, changing the angle? This changes the emphasis. What draws the eye? What pulls focus?

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Now let’s change the view again. Move closer in. Look for the details. Look beneath. Look up. What changes? What calls to you now?

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How close can you get? What do you see now? What details emerge? How does this differ from the first scene?

Often we approach our writing from the same viewing point. What would happen if you changed that, moved about to see from a different angle, from a different point of view, through a different story person’s eyes?

Spring is here. Take up your pen and paper and go out and play. See if you can discover something new today.

Tomorrow the view will be different. Subtle changes will appear, blossoms will fall upon the ground, new green leaves will appear. Tomorrow when I come to the page, the view will be different, I will be different. Like a snapshot freezing a moment in time, the pages I write will never be duplicated again. All the more reason then to come to the page, to capture if I can, this perfect moment.

Love and light,

Debra

A Quote – On The Use Of Creativity

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Oscar Wilde

I collect quotes and often return to the ones which speak to me. This one has been tapping me on the shoulder, wanting to be shared with my students.

Too often we get in our own way, with many things, but especially with writing. When we don’t write, it becomes harder to write. When we do write, even for five minutes a day, it becomes easier to write. I have experienced this on both ends, the writing and the not writing, and know it to be true for me.

What is holding you back today? Pick up that pen, fire up that computer or typewriter and begin. Even if you only have five minutes. It could be the best five minutes of your day.